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 Post subject: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 8:58 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:23 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Louisville, KY
Is there a process to setting up an Amberola 30. I have gathered the parts and assembled my first Amberola and now need to (want to ) set it up properly. I have to believe that there is a logical process or procedure for successful accomplishing this final task before playing the machine.

You know...first do this, next do that, finally check this...kind of thing. A technician's manual of sorts for a first timer.

Thank you for your guidance and wise counsel.


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 10:12 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:54 pm
Posts: 2588
There's nothing unique to an Amberola 30 for setup. They are as simple a machine is it gets.

Turn the motor off, crank it up, raise the reproducer, put a record firmly on the mandrel, turn the motor on, lower the reproducer. Easy peasy.

The only odd thing I can think of is that the speed control on most of these is hidden under the gear cover at the back left, so you may want to take that cover off at first so you can adjust the speed to 160 if needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:28 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
Stop for a visit when in Oregon.
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:25 pm
Posts: 6235
Location: Albany, Oregon
I'm not sure it applies but a word of caution. With most machines if you control the governor you control the motor. Not so with the Amberola 30/50/75. I wanted to clean the mandrel and the machine was off. I removed the mandrel and it unwound in about the time it takes to hit the period key at the end of this sentence. It's a good standard rule to let a machine run as far as possible before any disassembly. Enjoy your Amberola 30. It's a fine machine in a little package but only play indestructible four minute cylinders. Any was record will be destroyed under a diamond stylus.

Jerry Blais


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:49 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:23 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Louisville, KY
Here is what I thought might be already written:

Example only...
First make sure that the half nut is centered over the drive threaded rod. Next, to adjust the needle on the cylinder, loosen the what-chama-call-it until the thing-a-ma-jig floats....etc.

It can't be just "figure it out".


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:10 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 3119
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
Jerry B. wrote:
I'm not sure it applies but a word of caution. With most machines if you control the governor you control the motor. Not so with the Amberola 30/50/75. I wanted to clean the mandrel and the machine was off. I removed the mandrel and it unwound in about the time it takes to hit the period key at the end of this sentence. It's a good standard rule to let a machine run as far as possible before any disassembly. Enjoy your Amberola 30. It's a fine machine in a little package but only play indestructible four minute cylinders. Any was record will be destroyed under a diamond stylus.

Jerry Blais


I made that same mistake with my 30, when I was a teenage rookie. Fortunately, all that happened was a tiny bit of damage on one of the gears.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 11:22 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 3119
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
Frank W wrote:
Here is what I thought might be already written:

Example only...
First make sure that the half nut is centered over the drive threaded rod. Next, to adjust the needle on the cylinder, loosen the what-chama-call-it until the thing-a-ma-jig floats....etc.

It can't be just "figure it out".


Perhaps the only tricky adjustments are making sure the half nut is not bearing down too hard on the feedscrew (which could bog down play), or not making enough contact (which would cause repeating); also making sure the lift mechanism pushes the weight up far enough for the stylus to clear the cylinder when you're putting it on or taking it off, and is clear of the weight when the machine is playing.

If those are properly set, and the weight on the reproducer moves freely, you're golden.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 9:09 am 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1107
Location: South Carolina
Jerry B. wrote:
I'm not sure it applies but a word of caution. With most machines if you control the governor you control the motor. Not so with the Amberola 30/50/75. I wanted to clean the mandrel and the machine was off. I removed the mandrel and it unwound in about the time it takes to hit the period key at the end of this sentence. It's a good standard rule to let a machine run as far as possible before any disassembly. Enjoy your Amberola 30. It's a fine machine in a little package but only play indestructible four minute cylinders. Any was record will be destroyed under a diamond stylus.

Jerry Blais



My first cylinder player was an Amberola 30, and it is perhaps my most reliable vintage phonograph. I made that same mistake. A cylinder stuck to the mandrel, I pulled the cylinder, and accidentally disengaged the governor gear. The motor unwound too quickly and the crank spun backwards, flew out of the socket, and went boomeranging around the room.

As far as setup, it's not super hard. Mine was shipped from a Goodwill in Florida, packed upside down, crank sticking through packaging, needle still down on an old cylinder record. When I opened it roach fras poured out--it had been a bug condo for the last decades, and the front trim was falling apart.

I dripped oil into the reproducer joint at the neck, wiggled it around a little and worked it in and out, cranked it up, and played a record. The National Promenade Band still sounded fairly good!

Don't sweat it. You will get the hang of it--since you're a clock repairman it shouldn't be too much trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 11:57 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 3119
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
I also remember an article, either in ITG or the APS journal, on how to get the best sound out of these Amberolas.

Basically, you insulate the points of contact between the horn and its supports: felt or leather washers between the bottom pin and guide; rubber tubing on the bottom hook to which the suspension spring is attached; and rubber tubing to insulate the spring itself. This eliminates resonance or rattling.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 9:54 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:23 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Louisville, KY
Thanks for the tips and the encouragement.

Should the spring suspend the horn or just reduce the weight?

My spring allows the horn to glide on the bottom of the case. Should it be free from the bottom? If so, I think I can shorten the spring.


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 Post subject: Re: Setting up an Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 8:10 pm 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1107
Location: South Carolina
On mine the horn does sit on the bottom of the case, just barely. Mine is a later model (in fact the serial number is the highest known, so it's close to the last of the 30s at the end of the '20s) and the repair techniques might not apply exactly. There is, unlike the metal pin and upside-down tab thingy on your early machine, a not--quite-adequate pin screwed to the bottom of the case and the horn has a big hole in it with a fuzzy washer in it that rests over the whole thing. (Grammar? I know it's not there.)

Anyhow the horn should move freely. The criteria mainly is that you can slide your reproducer carriage back and forth freely without the horn binding.

Whatever you do is going to make it go, but don't shorten springs unless you're sure it will work without too much altering. Also, a good new diaphragm helps. I have a TrueTone from our own Larry H, and a new composite from Herman Wedemire and they both work nicely. I am using Mr. Wedemire's right now and it sounds lovely. Larry H's (not sure of full name, sorry) had less bright sound but a nice bottom end--a bigger sound. Made it sound like a BIG machine.

Either way is pleasant. If I had 2 Amberolas I'd swap machines--use one with each kind of new diaphragm. They sound better on different records. Sorry for the rambling but if it helps you I hope that's a good thing.


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